What does standard medical diagnosis of snoring and sleep apnoea miss?
People who snore and have sleep apnoea (sleep apnea) do not breathe correctly – no exceptions. Yet checking a person’s baseline breathing pattern is not part of standard medical diagnosis, not even for those suspected to have a breathing-related disorder!
Things like how fast you breathe, how much air you breathe, how you use your breathing muscles, whether you favour your mouth or nose for breathing, whether you breathe regularly or have lots of irregular breaths like sighs, yawns and coughs or whether you often hold your breath in the day, are all highly relevant but are not normally taken into account when diagnosing snoring and sleep apnoea and deciding on appropriate treatment. (It’s a bit like not considering what, when and how much food a person eats when they are being assessed for diabetes and obesity and when deciding on treatment.)
The main focus in treatment of snoring and sleep apnoea appears to be on dealing with the particular tissues that vibrate, narrow the airway, or obstruct airflow, more so than on addressing a faulty manner of breathing. And yet how much air, and how fast you inhale it, ultimately determine how inflamed and dehydrated your airway gets, how much turbulence and vibration there is and how likely it is that the walls of your airway will be drawn closer together.
These days we can be so taken in by technology and disconnected from our bodies that we do not think to look closely at ourselves for either the source of a problem or its solution. Many people don’t even see snoring as anything to do with the way they breathe!
Their long-suffering partners do – they notice the gale blowing over them when their partner is snoring! They recognise that their partner breathes faster and heavier than they do.
Remember you can change your breathing ………